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Fairest Lady of Them All

We have here another timely ‘blast from the variable past’ – the gist of that cliché being the word ‘variable’. Now we need to remember that that particular term explicitly refers to a certain era which is in no way, even remotely so, reemerging (or returning, revisiting, inasmuch most if not all terms with‘re’ added). I mean sure we’re all allowed to be nostalgic and reminisce about the ‘good old days’, have a retro celebration with most if not all retro elements err retrofitted; we can adopt numerous ‘olden’ elements within a number of permutations and yet as a generation we’re forever more divested from our forebears. End of discussion.

What doth cometh and I have no clue as to why I’ve precluded the medieval Shakespearean lilt right to the left or right up here, except for this one reason – and that reason be our collective fascination with the past, and therein my own fascination and active association with hither nary even a tiny hint of disrespect. Well, of course there were some unflattering jibes here and there; for one thing the fashion senses of that certain pre millennium era prompted even the most conservative of folks a wry smile at minimum (cue the inordinately high, above navel waistlines).

But what’s even more intriguing was that despite the freakishly high waistline the automobiles of that era were among the most memorable and most iconic of automobiles especially so in the low slung silhouette slash sports cars segment. We’re talking about the late 70s to early 80s which prompted the era of excess and outrageousness epitomized by the Italians for the most part – the Countach, The 512BB, the Stratos et all with some stellar appearance from the Germans (the speedy 911, with some luxury coupes adorn with the contemporary premium brands therein).

And of course somehow or rather the ever more prominent Japanese presence had their own superlative examples as well such as the 280ZX right here – one of the most famous sports car from the Nissan Z genealogy. Known as the Datsun/Nissan 280ZX in export markets, the car continued to use the “Fairlady” moniker in the Japanese domestic market.

The only thing left unchanged from the previous 280Z was the 5-speed manual transmission and 2.8-liter L28 inline-6 engine, while the entire car overall was made more luxurious to meet growing consumer demands. Major changes for this new generation of Z-cars include t-tops, introduced in 1980, and a turbocharged model introduced in 1981, complementing the naturally aspirated (NA) 2-seater and NA 2+2 models.

The L28E is the enlarged 2,753 cc engine produced from 1975 to 1984 equipped with dish-top pistons from 1975 to 1978 and 1979 to 1983 with flat top pistons and a resulting compression ratio of 8.3:1. The E stands for electronic multiport fuel injection, provided by Bosch using the L-Jetronic system, and is one of the first Japanese produced vehicles to introduce the technology.

For this attention-grabbing 280ZX the owner went with a rough 50-50 approximation of the old and the new, the original and the modernized version, so to speak. Externally it’s adorn with fully custom D1 full wide bodykit which was (according to the owner) made from scratch, only done so meticulously and expertly with top notched finish through and through, beautifully topped off with that streak of black paint along the hood. As you can readily see it is absolutely gorgeous and it nailed the whole old and new remix look to perfection, particularly that famous Work Meister wheels, with gold lugs in sizes a couple of inches bigger than the original.

Of course, detailing aside the owner kept things pretty straightforward as per the L28E Datsun engine only adding Custom D Club stainless steel extractor, NISMO muffler and electric fan. Climb inside the dark ambient retro cabin received Recaro seats and Nardi deep dish steering.

Classy and stunning piece of retro-ration.


Engine: L28E (6-cyl. in line, OHC), 2,753cc

Performance Mods: Custom D Club stainless steel extractor, NISMO muffler & electric fan

Max Power: 145ps at 5200rpm

Max Torque: 226Nm at 4000rpm

Transmission: 5-speed, floor shift

Suspension: Struts front, semi trailing-arm rear

Brakes: ventilated disc front & rear

Wheels & Tyres: Work Meister 17″ rims, Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tires

Interior: Recaro seats, Nardi deep dish steering

Exterior: Custom D1 full wide bodykit from scratch

Photos: Kenny Yeoh & Dennis Lhy

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